The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 12

    Falls

  • 2

    Groped

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 4

    Burns

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint